Monday, September 30, 2013


A wonderful week of films at the Guam International Film Festival (WEBSITE) ended last night with the Awards Ceremony.

I am so deeply honoured to have received the Guam International Film Festival "Best of Festival" award for 'A2-B-C.

There is so much more to write about this amazing festival, the films, the visiting delegates, the Muna brothers (co-founders of the festival), and of course, my gratitude for this opportunity to share the story of the mothers and children of Fukushima with the audience here in Guam.

While I was still processing all that I am feeling and thinking, I had a 3am Skype Q&A with the Camera Japan audience in Rotterdam, Holland (PHOTO HERE).  And now it is 6am, and I am at the airport on my way to London where 'A2-B-C' will screen in Raindance on Tuesday and Wednesday (SCHEDULE).

Thank you all so very much for your continued support and encouragement.  I am speechless.

Ian Lorenos

Sunday, September 29, 2013

From Bikini to Fukushima

Watching any film with an audience that is so engaged, even physically (by nodding heads) and verbally (by calling out to the characters in the film) is an experience that for me defines what it means to go to the cinema.  For a filmmaker, this is an honour beyond any that one can receive.

The post-screening Q and A for 'A2-B-C' last night went brilliantly, and this is a direct reflection on the Guam International Film Festival (GIFF) itself (WEBSITE).  The Muna brothers, co-founders of GIFF, have brought together the atmosphere, programmed the films, and attracted the excited audience that some more-seasoned festivals can sometimes miss.  And Kel and Don do all of this while remaining so humble that unless you knew who they are, well, then you wouldn't know who they are.

After the screening, audience members offered messages of support to the people of Fukushima.  GIFF co-founder and filmmaker Don Muna, grabbed my camera and started to shoot, thus freeing me from filming and allowing me to interact with the people giving the messages in a way I have not been able to do before.  What a gift!

One of the most poignant message was from fellow filmmaker Jack Niedenthal, a 30-year resident of the Marshall Islands and his wife, a native of Bikini.  They spoke of the similarities in the issues affecting the people of Bikini, with its 70-year history of radioactive contamination from nuclear testing, and the people of Fukushima.  Fukushima's struggle, Jack pointed out, has only just begun.
ack Niedentha
Jack Niedenthal
Jack Niedenthal

Jack Niedenthal's film, Zori, is screening today, the last day of GIFF (INFO).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tomorrow's Chamorro

Thirty minutes south of Tumon, Guam, these Chamorro youth are re-learning the Chamorro language, which was all but lost when speaking their native tongue was forbidden during occupation.  And they are re-interpreting the dances of their ancestors.  

This weekend, these Chamorro youth will travel to Korea to compete in an international contest of native dances.  But by just simply embracing, owning, learning about, contributing to and sharing their heritage, they have already won.  They are the future of Chamorro.

(To view the photos in a slideshow, select the first photo and then scroll through them using the left/right arrows on the keyboard.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Guam International Film Festival. Never heard of it? You will.

Hands down, Guam International Film Festival (WEBSITE) is the Freshest and most Fun film festival I have ever been to.  The festival is young (just three years old) and so are its founders (the Muna brothers), director (J.D. Iriarte) and the staff and volunteers.

This crew is ridiculously talented, and in addition to running the festival, everyone is a filmmaker, musician or artist, and they each have at least a couple of party tricks up their sleeve (like mind-blowing magic tricks or dope dance moves).  But most of all, they simply love film and love this island and bring these two worlds together into a week of amazing events that many film festivals will only ever dream of.

I'm talking awesome island tours to show off the best of what Guam has to offer.  Parties and events featuring insanely talented musicians and awesome food.  Master class workshops to inspire young, local filmmakers.  Screenings that are held for SOLD OUT audiences excited to see the amazing films that GIFF has brought to Guam.  (Have you ever been to a festival screening with only 3 people in the audience?  Yeah, well, then you weren't at GIFF).

And for the delegates, I don't even know where to begin.  GIFF staff and volunteers are meeting the directors at their resort hotels and driving them around in roomy cars to beautiful venues, all courtesy of the festival's generous sponsors (SHOUT OUT).  Does this sound like a promo for the festival?  I can assure you, this is actual testimony from a satisfied film director. 

The view from my hotel room.  With a rainbow.
I'm talking about DAILY news coverage by excited and interested local media.  ACTUAL press conferences.  Insanely up-to-date social media campaigns (Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE).  This festival is setting a new bench mark for what it means to give a s*** about film.  Just watch the TWO news reports below.

You may have never heard of the Guam International Film Festival before, but trust me: you will.  Get on this ship while it's still in port, because this baby is about to set sail.

(L to R: producer Shanna Sletten, GIFF director J.D. Iriarte, GIFF co-founder Kel Muna, me, GIFF volunteer Jeanna)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Docs en Mass...achusetts

I am over-whelmed at the number of invitations to screen that 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) has received from so many international film festivals.  It is such an honour and privilege to be able to share this story with people from all over the world, and I am grateful to all of the festivals (HERE) who have given us this amazing opportunity.

There are many different kinds of film festivals, big and small, and they each have their own unique style and charm.  The Newburyport Documentary Film Festival (WEBSITE) is a small festival with a huge heart that this year brought 23 international films to the historic city of Newburyport, Massachusetts.  Newburyport, with its thriving downtown lined with galleries, pubs and craft shops, offers a picturesque back-drop in which to hold this beautifully-curated selection of documentary films.
downtown Newburyport
Screenings take place in the Firehouse Centre for the Arts
After the screening of 'A2-B-C', audience members shared messages of support to the people of Fukushima, and I was honoured to film them.  A group of Japanese people who are living in Boston came to the screening and shared about the support activities they are taking part in from abroad.

I was only able to attend the last day of the festival, but it was a full day: after the screening of 'A2-B-C', I took part in a panel discussion with the eight other attending directors and then saw two films.

This wonderful experince of being on the film festival circuit continues, and I am now on my way to Guam where 'A2-B-C' will be screening in the Guam International Film Festival (WEBSITE).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Getting a peace

The second screening of 'A2-B-C' at the Global Peace Film Festival (WEBSITE) took place today, September 21, which is the International Day of Peace (WEBSITE) and the reason that the festival takes place each year during this week in September.

It has been an amazing experience to share 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) with the audiences in Orlando and to take part in the post-screening discussions.

In addition to the honour of sharing my film, I have also had the immense pleasure to watch many beautiful films made by directors from all over the globe.

Among them was 'Project Chariot', about the effects of radiation testing on the Inupiaq people of Point Hope, Alaska.  Jana Harcharek, producer of this heartbreaking documentary, was in attendance, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and hearing about her work documenting other important stories affecting her community.

In May, ater the World Premier of 'A2-B-C' in Germany, members of the audience wanted to share their thoughts and feelings in a video message to the families in Fukushima (VIDEO).  I was so moved when the people I met in Orlando expressed their desire to do the same.  Among them was Rickie Lee Jones (WEBSITE) who sent a heartfelt message to the mothers and children of Fukushima.
"We're thinking of you and we haven't forgotten."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another year of Peace

Exactly one year ago, I had the honour of screening my documentary 'In the Grey Zone' (WEBSITE) in the Global Peace Film Festival, a wonderful experience that I wrote about beginning with this blog (HERE).  This year I am grateful for the opporuntity to be invited back to Global Peace to share 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) with the audiences in Orlando, Florida.

This is just the second day of the festival, but it has already been a time that could only describe as "wonderful" in the truest sense of the word: a time full of wonder.

Opening night saw the rain clouds part just in time to host an outdoor screening of the documentary 'Mistaken For Strangers' (WEBSITE), while festival director Nina Streich (pictured below) greeted guests that were coming in from all over the world.

The radio station WKRP, located at the film festival's host and sponsor Rollins College, invited visiting directors onto the air to talk about their films, and I had the honour of being a guest on today's program.

The day ended with a screening of local filmmaker Vicki Nantz's new documentary 'Billy & Alan' (WEBSITE), a challenging film based on the Orlando Weekly article 'Til Death Do Us Part (HERE).  Both the director, Vicki, and subject, Billy (pictured below) were in attendance, and the film was received by the audience with a standing ovation.

The first of two screenings of 'A2-B-C' is tomorrow evening (SCHEDULE), but not until after a full day of meetings, films, another radio interview and, of course, much, much peace.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leaving on a jet plane

After the Japan premier of 'A2-B-C' last night, I am leaving Japan... but just for the next six weeks.  I am over-whelmed at the positive response from film festivals all over the world and am deeply honoured to be able to attend many of them.  Even for some of the festivals I will not able to attend in person, there are plans to conduct a post-screening Q and A session via Skype.

Thank you all so very much for your continued support and encouragement!  行ってきます!

I am scheduled to be in attendance at the following festivals:
A full list of screenings of 'A2-B-C' can be found here:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

逆輸入:Reverse Importing

From the beginning, I felt that the only way for 'A2-B-C' to be able to be screened in Japan was to first get it accepted into festivals abroad, hopefully recognized and then to "reverse import" it back into Japan.  And following the World Premier and award in Germany (story HERE), that is exactly what has happened.

The Japan premier of 'A2-B-C' was held tonight in Tokyo on the opening day of the PIA Film Festival (WEBSITE), and I am so grateful for the support and encouragement from the people in attendance.

I would especially like to thank the following people for their support:
  • Araki Keiko様, director of the PIA Film Festival (pictured in above PHOTO), for providing this opportunity to share the film with the audience in Tokyo
  • U.g. Kaneko様, for documenting the screening last night (above PHOTO) and for his family's support of my work
  • Ueno Katsuyoshi様, creator and webmaster of the (LINK) and (LINK) websites
  • Suzuki Hiroki様, writer, blogger and supporter of Fukushima children (his story and PHOTOS of tonight's screening are HERE)
  • And most of all the Fukushima mothers (photo HERE) who so bravely allowed me to document their story.  These women are heroes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stepping out from behind the camera.

Filmmaker Spotlight: 'A2-B-C' by Ruzelle Amparo 
For the 2013 Guam International Film Festival
September 1, 2013

Guam International Film Festival

Filmmaker documents unseen threat by Robin Caudell
The Press Republican (NY)
September 1, 2013

Filmmaker revisits the children of Fukushima's 'Grey Zone'
The Japan Times
September 10, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

When it rains...

As the acceptances for 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) from festivals keep coming, I become ever more humbled.  That so many festivals will be bringing the voices of the children and mothers of Fukushima to people all over the world is more than I could ever have hoped for.  

It is now with great honour and gratitude that I can announce the UK premier of 'A2-B-C' in Europe's leading independent film festival, Raindance.

From the Raindance website (HERE):
Raindance Film Festival is Europe’s leading independent film festival. Listed by Variety as one of the world’s top 50 ‘unmissable film festivals’, Raindance aims to nurture, support and promote independent films and filmmakers from the UK and around the world.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The specialized worlds of themed film festivals

I continue to be humbled at the interest in 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) from film festivals all over the world, and today I am honoured to announce TWO MORE screenings of 'A2-B-C'!

The first is in the Camera Japan Festival in Holland (September 25-29), which is, according to its website, "a Japanese cultural festival with its main focus on film that also dives into other areas like art, music, dance, fashion, architecture, food and many more." 

Camera Japan honoured my first film about the disaster, 'In the Grey Zone' (WEBSITE), by hosting the European premier last year (more HERE).

Although I will be unable to attend the screening in Rotterdam as I will be at the Guam International Film Festival (more HERE), I am so grateful to have the opportunity to join the post-screening discussion via Skype. 

'A2-B-C' will also be screening in the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (October 4-8).  I will unfortunately be unable to attend this screening as well; stay tuned for the VERY EXCITING reason!

The two films that I have made about the Fukushima disaster, 'In the Grey Zone' (WEBSITE) and 'A2-B-C' (WEBSITE) have provided me with the opportunity to take part not only in so-called "main stream" film festivals, but also with the specialized worlds of themed film festivals, such as those presenting curated collections of films in categories such as "Japanese", "Human Rights" and "Ethnography".  I am truly grateful for how these experiences have changed my life.